How many of you can say that your father holds a Guinness record? I CAN and not one, but TWO!!!
As of Feb 26th, 2022 my father, along with others who participated, became part of a historic attempt — 288 members of the College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram Alumni Association came together online to sing 14 songs in a relay and broke a record of ‘Most People In An Online Singing Video Relay‘. The oldest participant was from the 1955 batch and the youngest from 2021 — bringing together people all the way from The Silent Generation to Generation Z on one platform.
As far as I know, the entire team practiced for months, perfecting their team’s songs. Located globally, they came together online from their varied time zones, allocating time away from their busy schedules to achieve something great. Even though it may have been painful for the family members to endure listening to the same few lines again and again, in the end, I guess it was all worth it.
If you hadn’t noticed earlier, my dad now is a Two-Time Guinness Record holder. He received his first certificate in 2019 for being part of a 315 member ensemble that performed a melam in front of the Ayyappan temple in Mahalingapuram, Chennai. He began learning the edakka (a musical instrument belonging to the drum family) after his 60th birthday and at 63, he was ready for his arangetram (first solo performance). It so happened, that the temple committee and other enthusiasts were planning to attempt a Guinness World record to have multiple musicians perform together. My father and his batchmates, ranging from elementary school children to retirees like him were included in the team; many participants were brought in from different parts of Kerala to make up the 315.
The event happened on the Vijayadashami day in 2019, and Mr. P and I gave everyone a surprise by showing up a day before the event. I was hesitant to travel, simply because traveling is an expensive affair but Mr. P insisted that we should go. He sat me down and gave me a lecture about setting my priorities right, how this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and how happy my parents would be to have me there… I would usually have a hard time accepting that he was right, but this time, I am glad I listened to him :-).
The evening was memorable, to say the least. The music was incredible and the solo performances were scintillating. And even though none of us have learned music to understand its nuances, we thoroughly enjoyed every second. I can still feel the reverberating music of the chenda, edakka, and other traditional instruments that came together to create the mesmerizing music.
Coming back to the recent event, as soon as the Guinness panel announced the results, we called my father to congratulate him. And even though we jokingly asked him if he purposely chooses ONLY record-breaking events to participate in, we are all immensely proud of his achievements and the dedication shown by him and his co-alumni members.
After hearing about this, Ms. G commented saying we should all learn something from him, to be so involved in his alumni body and to be part of such interesting events. And I agree with her completely. Though she and I are part of an alumni group, we barely take part in anything. The college from where we completed our Bachelor’s doesn’t even have an alumni organization…just a WhatsApp group of friends who used to be a gang two decades ago! I conclude this post in awe of the enthusiastic alumni group, especially the member from the 1955-batch, who started the session off by singing Vande Mataram.
I don’t think I have ever told my father how proud I am of him… this post should make it quite clear now :-). I hope this event has inspired you all to do something amazing, regardless of whether it brings you a Guinness record or not. Until I write again, stay healthy, stay happy, and stay inspired!